Covert Drone War
The use of Predator and Reaper drones (unmanned flying vehicles that are often armed with video-guided missiles) by the US military and CIA is a largely untold story of the "Global War on Terror / Global Contingency Operation" - yet has caused thousands of deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan, many of whom are women and children.
Yielding to pressure from critics of his killer drone practice, President Obama released fictional figures on civilian casualties this past Friday. In a classic "bury the news over the holiday weekend" move, and after delaying the promised disclosure for many months, the Obama administration said that, since 2009, the combined CIA and military assassination targeted killing programs had claimed the lives of "between 64 and 116" non-combatants and about 2,500 suspected terrorists (military-aged males in designated war zones). Both tallies are ridiculously low compared to estimates compiled by independent watchdogs at the Long War Journal and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Twenty-two-year-old Samantha Morris is a social worker at an Alabama-based nonprofit organization who works hard to attend to the needs of men and women recently released from prison or still incarcerated. When she began her job in 2015, she declined the nonprofit's offer to allocate a portion of her monthly wages into a 401(k) account. "At the time, I didn't want to take money out of my paycheck every month to invest through the organization that I work for," Morris said. However, like many young professionals anxious about their future, Morris found it prudent to save money, if possible, by investing in stocks and mutual funds.
Brian Terrell of Voices for Creative Non Violence writes, "Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III authorized RPA aircrews to log combat time when flying an aircraft within designated hostile airspace, regardless of the aircrew's physical location."
Reprieve | April 21, 2016
A video project launched today by the Guardian and Reprieve details the civilian impact of the US covert drone programme, through the voices of those who have lost family members to the strikes.
In the video interviews, six clients of the human rights organization Reprieve – all of whom lost innocent family members to covert US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen – talk about the aftermath of those strikes, and the difficulties of ‘life after drones’ without accountability for the killings.
April 1 at Creech Air Force Base, activists began blocking the highway and other base gates, leading to arrests. Activists successfully delayed Air Force personnel (and presumably some drone pilots and technitions), from entering the base for as much as an hour. 17 were arrested, following five days of protests at the Base with a total of 26 arrested so far during the 2nd Annual National Mass Mobilization against Drone Warfare known as SHUT DOWN CREECH.
The film “Eye in the Sky” builds drama through excruciating minutes ticking by as politicians debate the legality and morality of sending Hellfire missiles into a house in Nairobi Kenya where tiny surveillance drones show figures strapping on suicide vests, just as a young girl unwittingly sets up shop nearby. She is full of life, and would be likely killed.
The former CIA/NSA Chief General Michael Hayden shilling for targeted killing by drones today on the New York Times opinion page?
"Critics assert that a high percentage of the people killed in drone strikes are civilians — a claim totally at odds with the intelligence I have reviewed — and that the strikes have turned the Muslim world against the United States, fueling terrorist recruitment. Political elites have joined in, complaining that intelligence agencies have gone too far — until they have felt in danger, when they have complained that the agencies did not go far enough."
We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS
Dear President Obama, Secretary Carter and Director Brennan:
We are former Air Force service members. We joined the Air Force to protect American lives and to protect our Constitution.
Cable Provider Has Strong Links to Defense Industry, Including Snowden Employer and Drone Contractor Booz Allen Hamilton
CLOVIS, NM – An international cable provider with links to the defense industry is refusing to air television commercials produced by U.S. military veterans that are critical of the U.S. drone program, according to vets involved in the production of the spots.
Syracuse, N.Y. Four anti-drone resisters were sentenced last night in Judge Joseph J. Zavaglia’s DeWitt (NY) Town Court for alleged trespass at a “die-in” on April 28, 2013 at Hancock Air Base, home to the 174th Attack Wing of the NY National Guard, just north of Syracuse, NY. At their four-day trial this past June trial the six-person jury acquitted the four of disorderly conduct and obstruction of government administration.
The four are members of Upstate Drone Action Coalition – a scrupulously nonviolent, loosely-knit grassroots network which, since 2009 has actively opposed the Hancock Reaper drones flying missions over Afghanistan. The Reaper, an unmanned robot, is notorious for violating international law by killing, maiming and terrorizing civilians in several U.S. undeclared wars.